Having a jar of pesto in the fridge allows for an easy and spontaneous pasta dish. Just add a little extra oil or even a splash of water to make it saucy. This pungent sauce is also great on broiled chicken breast, slathered on pita and meatloaf sandwiches, or even mixed into a quinoa salad or mashed potatoes.
Think all pesto is made from basil? Think again. The beauty of pesto is its versatility. The greens, the nuts, the cheese, the oil … all can vary according to your taste, budget, and fresh ingredients on hand. Here are lists of possible ingredients you can use, followed by a recipe as an example of how to use the ingredients proportionally, but that can vary too.
Spinach is an ingredient I often use. For my latest batch, I substituted cilantro for the basil. Talk about pungent! Have fun and let me know what combinations you’ve developed.
Greens arugula basil cilantro fennel mint Italian parsley spinach
Nuts (toasted or not) pine nuts walnuts almonds
Cheese grated Parmesan grated Romano feta (a little bit)
Oil extra virgin olive oil walnut oil almond oil
Other ingredients: salt (I use sea salt), garlic cloves, (optional) freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients 1 cup basil leaves, packed 1/2 cup spinach leaves, packed 1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves 1/4 cup pine nuts 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 1-2 cloves garlic dash of sea salt 2 Tablespoons olive oil (or more) 2 tablespoons water (optional)
Instructions 1. In blender or food processor, combine basil, spinach, parsley, cheese, nuts, garlic, and salt. Cover and blend with several on-off pulses, scraping the sides from time to time, until a paste forms. 2. Gradually mix in the oil (and water) and blend or process until reaching consistency of soft butter. Add the salt and optional pepper to taste. Makes about 3/4 cup. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days, or put in ice cube trays and freeze.
Good cooking to you, Linda Note: Would you like a printout of this and other recipes? These directions may help: Use your mouse to select only the text you want to copy rather than the entire page. Then press Ctrl+C, open your Word program and press Ctrl+V to paste the semi-formatted text. Print it from there.